Live Stream
Radio Ndarason Internationale


Political thugs force INEC to extend voting to Sunday at 141 polling units in Bayelsa State and at several others in Cross River State

26 February 2023
Reading time: 7 minutes

It was not plain sailing at all polling booths across Nigeria as political thugs forced elections to be extended to Sunday in at least two states and suspended elections in two others, postponing them to March 11, meaning they will be held in tandem with elections for governors and members of state assemblies.

Protests and political thuggery have forced the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to extend voting to Sunday at 141 polling stations within the Yenagoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State and at a number of other units in Cross River State.

Mahmood Yakubu, chairman of the commission, told reporters at a press briefing at the collation centre in Abuja that elections were disrupted by violent protests in wards 4, 6, 8, and 14, at 141 polling units in Bayelsa State.

He said some aggrieved youths had protested against INEC’s inability to provide enough electoral materials at various polling units in the Yenegoa Local Government Area of Bayelsa State. Security agencies fired gunshots to scare away the protesting youths who claimed the lack of electoral materials was interfering with their constitutional right to vote.

Yakubu said the situation was brought under control but the commission decided to extend voting to Sunday after INEC staff members said they were apprehensive about holding the elections in the affected wards on Saturday.
Political thugs had protested and become violent, Yakubu said, threatening INEC staff members and members of the public. Even though the situation had been brought under control, INEC had decided to extend voting to Sunday after the electoral body reached an agreement with security agencies in the state.

“On Saturday we had a meeting with all the security agencies concerned and we took the decision to extend voting at these 141 polling units, where the election materials are already set up and intact, to Sunday morning. Remember, we’re not only conducting elections for the new president and vice-president, we are also conducting elections for senatorial and federal constituencies.
“I am sure we have made the right decision so that we can conclude the processes of the general elections. The Youth Corps members, who are serving as presiding officers, and commission staff have agreed that the elections will take place on Sunday morning,” he said.

He told reporters that thugs had attacked various polling units throughout the country and that at least eight Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) machines were stolen during the elections on Saturday. However, backup BVAS machines were provided to ensure that the elections were not totally disrupted.


Violence had forced INEC to suspend elections in the Esan and Igueben federal constituencies in Edo State.
Yakubu said the suspension of elections in some parts of Edo state was due to the omission of the logo on ballot papers of one of the contesting parties.
He said the general elections in these parts of Edo State would be conducted on Saturday, March 11, when the public would be voting for state governors and members of state assemblies.

Yakubu told reporters that the INEC had been made aware that the logo of one party had been omitted on Friday, February 23.

“The party’s acronym is on the score sheet but the logo is not on the ballot paper in a federal constituency.
“After a meeting with the stakeholders, a decision was taken to suspend and postpone general elections in Esan North, Esan South and Igueben so that the omission can be corrected.

“The ballot papers will be reprinted and elections will now be held at the same time and in tandem with the constituency elections in the next two weeks.”
INEC also stopped election proceedings in the Yenagoa Local Government Area in Bayelsa State because of violent protests among the youth who claimed the lack of electoral materials was hampering their right to vote.

“We had a situation in Bayelsa, particularly in the capital, Yenagoa, where in four wards – 4, 6, 8 and 14, involving 141 polling units – the election process was disrupted.
“We remobilised security. The situation is calm for us to proceed with the process, although members of the Youth Corps were still apprehensive of returning to the polling units.

“After a meeting with all security agencies it was decided that voting would be extended to Sunday morning.”
Yakubu assured Nigerians that INEC was determined to ensure that no Nigerians were disenfranchised.

On Friday, February 23, INEC also suspended the senatorial election in Enugu East in Enugu State, after the Labour Party’s senatorial candidate for the district, Oyibo Chukwu, was killed. The commission said the party would decide on a replacement candidate and elections in the district would be held in tandem with the vote for governors and assembly house members on March 11.


INEC said it had extended voting to Sunday at some polling units in Cross River State.

Anthonia Nwobi, INEC’s head of department for voter education and publicity, issued a statement on Saturday on behalf of the state’s resident electoral commissioner.
“INEC has announced the extension period of voting for the presidential and national assembly elections to Sunday, February 26, in polling units in Cross River State where elections could not take place on Saturday. These include polling units in wards in the Bakassi Local Government Area; Dayspring 1 & 2 and Qua Island.

“Voting in the affected areas will resume at 8am and will end at 12pm on Sunday. All stakeholders, including members of political parties, the interagency consultative committee on election security, observers, press, INEC staff members and ad hoc personnel, should be guided accordingly.”

Nwobi urged all affected eligible voters to use the opportunity to get to polling units to cast their ballots.
“The commission also wishes to reassure all eligible voters of its resolution that no registered voters will be disenfranchised in the general elections.”


Thugs disrupted voting processes in the luxurious Elegushi area at Lekki in Lagos State, in the southwest of Nigeria, as well as some in other parts of the state.

An eyewitness told Channels Television that thugs in various areas disrupted voting on Saturday by scattering and messing up election materials that had been set up by INEC.

“At the polling unit where I went to vote near the Oba Elegushi’s palace, some thugs protested and did not allow us to cast our ballots. They threw electoral materials all over the place and told us we could not vote there. They said if we wanted to vote, we needed to go to Anambra.”

There were also reports of disruptions in other areas in Lagos, including Aguda, Ojo and Oshodi, among others. Security operatives reportedly arrived at the disrupted voting stations and took control of the situation.

Idowu Owohunwa, the Lagos State commissioner of police, confirmed that there were “isolated instances of thuggery” in some parts of Lagos State and described the situation as an “admixture”.

“It was an admixture of very peaceful conduct in most parts but we also recorded isolated instances of thuggery. As I said earlier, we

anticipated them and we had multiple security teams who were able to respond quickly.

“We were able to stabilise the situation and rescue INEC officials,” he said.
“I can confirm that several arrests have been made but, as at this moment, it is still an ongoing process. So, I cannot say conclusively how many polling units were affected by violence. At the end of the day, we will do a post-election evaluation and come up with specifics,” the commissioner said.


Keywords: #elections

About the author

Radio Ndarason